Culture eats strategy for breakfast is a phrase that many of you will have heard, but why is that? What is it that makes culture so important?
Culture is what defines how your teams will act in certain situations, especially when the going is tough or stressful. Those team with a winning culture will dig in, they we redouble their efforts and will continue to search for a solution. Those with a losing culture will fold and quit.
This is why culture is important.
Culture determines how people will act when no one from management is looking.
If you have a culture where the the organization puts the customer first, then that’s how your staff will act when unsupervised.
If you have a culture that doesn’t care too much about customers, then that is exactly how your teams will act.
Culture can be difficult to define, it can be difficult to influence, especially if you don’t take a proactive approach to defining it.
Culture will often take it’s lead from the leadership, if the leaders act without integrity, fiddle expenses, cheat in everything they do, then this will become the role model for the culture.
A good friend of mine, one of the top leadership coaches, tell the story about a time he was asked to help increase trust and accountability within an organization. They brought him in to do a two day workshop, the boss kicked it off and then left. During the first morning the team lacked engagement in the workshop, they listened and participated in the exercises but it didn’t feel like they were committed.
At lunch my friend asked a few of the managers attending what was the problem. Here’s what they said. “The boss is having an affair with his secretary while his wife is 3 months pregnant, and he wants to talk to us about trust and integrity.”
Leaders cannot live one culture and expect their teams to live another, it doesn’t work like that.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast, and you need to proactively work to build the right culture four your business.